Expounding the More Perfect Way….Jesus Christ and Him Crucified Acts 18:24-28

Monthly Archives: February 2016

Ephesians 4:4

(4) “THERE IS ONE BODY, AND ONE SPIRIT, EVEN AS YE ARE CALLED IN ONE HOPE OF YOUR CALLING;”

The “Unity of the Spirit” of which Paul has spoken, brings into realization the unity of the Son and thence to the Source of unity in the Father, as we will see in succeeding Verses.
“One Body” depicts the Church as a single visible community. It is not simply a mystical concept. Its unity is recognizable in that Jews and Gentiles are now seen to be reconciled in Christ. In the Pagan world there were many religious cults, but as it regards Christianity, all are members of one Body. However, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle had much more in mind than merely the amalgamation of Jews and Gentiles into one Body, i.e., “one Church.” He is speaking of the entirety of the Plan of God as it regards not only the Church, but each individual. It is the manner in which all things are received from the Lord, and as well, in which all things are given to us.
“One Spirit” indwells the Body of Christ. By Him the Body lives and moves (I Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit is its soul; apart from Him it cannot exist. Consequently, the same Spirit fell on the Jews at Pentecost and on the Gentiles in the House of Cornelius. Peter made it clear that it was the same Spirit (Acts 10:47; 11:12, 15–17).
The “one Spirit” Who has already spanned this gulf will bring together all who Name the Name of Christ, and for the obvious reasons.
The Holy Spirit is the pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14) and so He is the Guarantor of the “one hope” to which we are called (Eph. 1:18; 2:12). This is not the hope that stems from the calling but the hope that belongs to the call (Eph. 4:1). It is, of course, the hope of sharing Christ’s Glory at the end of the age (I Jn. 3:2).

ONE BODY

The phrase, “There is one Body,” pertains to the Church, the Body of called-out Believers. Admittance to this Body is the “Born-Again” experience (Jn. 3:3).
This “Body” is the invisible Church, and yet at the same time visible, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is composed of all Believers before the Cross and after the Cross. All are included in this Body, for this was actually the purpose of God in forming the nation of Israel to begin with. It was done in order to give the world the Word of God, and bring the Redeemer into the world, so that all, both Jews and Gentiles would have the opportunity of Salvation, all in Christ. That Israel refused her share, in no way negated the Plan of God, even though it did alter its direction (Rom. Chpt. 11).
This “One Body” will have its culmination at the Rapture, or perhaps a better word would be “The Resurrection.” That’s the reason that the Holy Spirit said through John, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).
The phrase, “One Body” means as should be obvious, that there aren’t 20 Churches or five, or even two. There is just one, and as stated, admittance into this Church or Body is the acceptance of Christ, Who Alone is the Redeemer (Jn. 3:16).
Man cannot bring an individual into this “Body,” and man cannot take an individual out of this “Body.” To be sure, some have been attempting to do that, and I speak of so-called religious leaders, almost since the beginning of time. In other words, the claim by some, that if you do not belong to their Church you are not saved, etc. Such is foolishness, as should be obvious!
While it’s imperative that the Believer find a good Church, faithfully attend that Church, and faithfully support that Church, it must always be understood, that membership or participation in an earthly organization, constitutes no Salvation at all. However, the assembling of ourselves together in order to worship God is absolutely necessary, and for all the obvious reasons. We are saved not only to ourselves, but as a part of the Body, and as such, we desire to be with the Body.

THE NECESSITY OF A GOOD CHURCH

As we’ve already explained, when we say “Church” we are not necessarily speaking of a building beside the road with the name “Church” painted on it. Church is made up of Believers, and when Believers meet together in order to worship God, wherever that may be, that is “Church.”
It is absolutely necessary that one be led by the Spirit as it regards the Pastor under whom one sits. The Believer will always be a product of what they are taught. God has set various callings in the Church for this purpose, which we will deal with in the 11th Verse. However, if the Believer chooses to sit under an “Angel of Light,” who in fact, is one of “Satan’s ministers,” the end results will be dire (II Cor. 11:12–15).
To which we have already alluded these “ministers” will look like God, act like God, talk like God, and say many right things; however, all of that is done, in order to snare the individual for their own devious purposes. False teachers came into the Church in the time of Paul, which caused him to address this subject over and over again, and to be sure, false teachers are still abundant presently. In fact, for every “true Teacher of the Word,” there are probably several false teachers of the Word.
Unfortunately, there are many Believers, perhaps the majority, who are truly in this “one Body,” meaning they have been truly Born-Again, but are sitting under false teachers. It happened at Corinth and Galatia, with attempts no doubt being made in all the Churches planted by Paul, necessitating several of his Epistles.
So, Satan will do all within his power to keep the person out of this “Body of Christ,” but if he cannot do that, he will attempt to push them into erroneous teaching, which will greatly hinder their spiritual growth, and could even cause them to ultimately be lost.

THE EFFORTS OF SATAN

Satan was strongly attempting in the time of Paul to split the Church, in effect, making it two bodies of Christ, one composed of the Jews and another composed of the Gentiles. Through the power of the Cross, reconciliation with God had been effected for both Jew and Gentile, thus creating the possibility not only of the vertical relationship of peace with God but also the horizontal relationship of peace with all men. Thus, one Body of Believers has been brought into being (Eph. 2:16).
As we have stated, Satan’s effort in this capacity did not die with the early Church but continues unto this moment. He attempts to make several bodies, which of course, can never be sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. So, any Believer who even remotely hints in his thinking, of admittance into this Body, as by any other way than Faith in Christ, that individual is on dangerous ground. In other words, if he thinks that one has to belong to his Church to be saved, he has just created a second body, which the Lord cannot accept and in which the Holy Spirit cannot work. In other words, the very thing they are claiming—their Church as the only Church—has the very opposite effect. By their own actions, they are taking themselves out of the true Body of Christ, placing themselves into this man-devised body. Millions have lost their souls in this fashion.
The “one Body” means that this is not a Western Gospel, or an Eastern Gospel, or any other type of localized Gospel. It is one Gospel for this one Body, for the entirety of the world, for all of mankind, all in Christ.

ONE SPIRIT

The phrase, “And One Spirit,” refers, of course, to the Holy Spirit. Even though this phrase is short, it contains a wealth of meaning, as should be obvious.
Paul is stressing here the unity of the Godhead, which unity should rest in the hearts of Believers as well. Inasmuch as there is only One Holy Spirit, there can be no diversity of doctrine or contradiction in any capacity. So, in essence, Paul is saying that both he and the Judaizers cannot be correct, inasmuch as the teaching of each contradicts the others. It is the same presently!
There are hundreds and possibly even thousands of different types of Churches and belief systems as it regards the Word of God, much, often contradictory. Knowing that the Holy Spirit is not the Author of such contradiction, then we must come to the conclusion that some are wrong in their Doctrine. For those who sit under such wrong doctrine, and untold millions do, what they are hearing is not given by the Holy Spirit, not inspired by the Holy Spirit, which means irrespective of the claims, that it is not the Word of God. Consequently, deception and spiritual wreckage are the result, which regrettably, characterizes most of that which goes under the name of “Church.”

THE TRUE CHURCH

The true Church does not go under a denominational name. Whatever name it goes under, it is where the One and the Selfsame Spirit dwells.
Regarding all who are truly Born-Again, it was the same Holy Spirit Who awakened all; enlightened all; convicted all; and, converted all. Wherever they may be, and whoever, there has been substantially the same work of the Spirit in the heart of every Christian. There are circumstantial differences arising from diversities of temperament, disposition, and education; there may be a difference in the depth and power of His operations on the soul; there may be a difference in the degree of conviction for sin and in the evidence of conversion, but still there are the same operations on the heart essentially, produced by the same Spirit.
All the Gifts which come from God, are in essence, products of the Spirit. All the zeal, the ardor, the love, the self-denial in the Church, are produced by the same Spirit. Consequently, there should be, therefore, “unity.”
There is one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God Who was outpoured on Believers with such marvelous manifestations on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1–4), who were altogether Jewish. As well, this same Spirit was given to the Gentile Believers at Caesarea under the ministry of Peter (Acts 10:44–46; 15:7–9), and in fact, to all Believers from then unto now.

Swaggart, J.

Topic of discussion is Crucified With Christ -Life Comes as a Result of Being Dead. Galatians 2:20-21

To be crucified with Christ is to be dead (the power of the flesh, sin….etc no longer dominates you) to the world system, religion, self, sin and Satan. It means that we no longer strive to live for self, nor our old life as we have known it. The passions and lust which controlled us before Salvation should be nailed (destroyed) to His Cross. This is necessary so that the life of Christ can be manifested through us.

Too many of us give our lives to Christ and then try to live for God based upon our old way of living, thinking, traditions and self efforts. The only way that the life of Christ can be revealed through you and I, as believers, is if we place our focus and faith not on our ministry, not on our gifts and abilities, and not on works but on where we began this Christian life which is by faith in the Cross of Christ and where we shall end this life by exhibiting faith in the Cross of Christ.

Understand that just because one operates in a gift or ability does not mean that one is living a crucified life. Our character must be changed to match that of Christ and the process of denying self must be applied daily. This is a spiritual work which can only be done by the Holy Spirit when our faith is properly placed in the Cross of Christ.

Many have been offended/hurt in the body of Christ by fellow Christians and many believe that one has to put up with and continue in fellowship with the offender and keep moving as if nothing has happened. This isn’t the bible’s stance. The bible does expect the offended to forgive but fellowship may not be restored. The bible desires for us as Christians to admit our faults with the intent of not doing it again, and get it right with fellow believers. God doesn’t expect the offended to continue to be a door mat, but the goal is that we walk in fellowship with one another if at all possible. We can forgive the offender but sometimes the offender may not be willing to admit his/her faults and continue to walk in offending others.

~Shonette

ON RESTITUTION AND PRAYER
Matthew 5:23-26
23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the Altar (referring to the Brazen Altar as used in the offering of Sacrifices in the Law of Moses), and there remember that your brother has ought against you (is meant to describe our relationship with our fellowman);

24 Leave there your gift before the Altar (the intimation is that the Lord will not accept our “gift” unless we do all within our power to make things right with the offended party), and go your way (make every effort to bring about reconciliation, if at all possible); first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift (worship will not be accepted by the Lord, if we have wronged our brother, and have not done all within our power to make amends).

CHRISTIAN RELATIONSHIPS

25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are in the way with him (if we offend our brother and do not make amends, the Lord becomes our adversary, or opponent, which places one in a serious situation indeed); lest at any time the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison (regarding a Believer who offends a fellow Christian, and will not make amends, God becomes that person’s Adversary, and thereby is Judge instead of his Saviour, and spiritually speaking, puts such a person in a spiritual prison).

26 Verily I say unto you (the absolute solemnity of this statement), You shall by no means come out thence (come out of this spiritual prison), till you have paid the uttermost farthing (the Lord’s method of teaching was symbolic and figurative; if the Believer doesn’t make amends with his fellowman who he has wronged, he will suffer one reverse after the other; God will see to it).

Topic of discussion is “Crucified With Christ” Romans 6, Galatians 2:20-21

To be crucified with Christ is to be dead (the power of the flesh, sin….etc no longer dominates you) to the world system, religion, self, sin and Satan. It means that we no longer strive to live for self, nor our old life as we have known it. The passions and lust which controlled us before Salvation should be nailed (destroyed) to His Cross. This is necessary so that the life of Christ can be manifested through us.

Too many of us give our lives to Christ and then try to live for God based upon our old way of living, thinking, traditions and self efforts. The only way that the life of Christ can be revealed through you and I, as believers, is if we place our focus and faith not on our ministry, not on our gifts and abilities, and not on works but on where we began this Christian life which is by faith in the Cross of Christ and where we shall end this life by exhibiting faith in the Cross of Christ.

Understand that just because one operates in a gift or ability does not mean that one is living a crucified life. Our character must be changed to match that of Christ and the process of denying self must be applied daily. This is a spiritual work which can only be done by the Holy Spirit when our faith is properly placed in the Cross of Christ.

1 Samuel 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

In today’s church we find that the emphasis is often placed on serving, working, submitting but it’s all to an organization or a man or woman behind the pulpit.  Oftentimes, it’s not stated verbally but it is insinuated and often expected of it’s members.  We often tie belonging to a church with our Salvation, but if we were to read our bibles in the full meaning and context of scriptures, we will find that our loyalty and commitment is to the Lord.  There is nothing wrong with going to a church or belonging to an organization, the bible encourages that, but our loyalty and commitment is to the Lord and His redemption plan, Calvary. Commitment ends when the word of God has been violated, misinterpreted, manipulated, and abused.  In 1 Samuel 15:22, you can see where King Saul thought that his participation in a religious event and the offering of sacrifices to the Lord, but having to neglect to obey the Lord’s command, would bring about a favorable response from God.

In the Hebrew text, the words, “to obey is better than sacrifice” asserts in the clearest terms the superiority of moral to ritual worship, and that God can only be really served with the heart.  This is what we are missing in most of our churches.  We are more focused on externally building our kingdoms instead of allowing the Spirit of God to build us in character morally and internally.  We have forgotten that Christ is the Head of the Church, that is the Body of Christ.  Many as stated in Mark 7:7-13, have allowed the traditions of the church and man to hinder us in our relationship with the Lord by laying aside the commandment of God for the rules and traditions of men. 

Notice that Samuel states that the Lord has a great delight in obeying the voice of the Lord.  I have come to the conclusion that the reason we are so loyal to men is due to not knowing the voice of the Lord.  The bible states that His sheep follow Him because they know His voice and a stranger they will not follow (John 10:4-5).  I have seen many leaders upset with individuals because they will not follow them, their ministry, their planning and efforts outside of faith in Calvary.  Those who are of Christ, follow His message, His voice and those of like faith…etc., and His alone.  Why?  Because Christ states that “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men”(John 12:32).  The way in which He was lifted up was at Calvary where He paid the price for our redemption.  It is not enough to lift up churches, ministries, works, activities, leaders ….etc., but this message of the atonement made at Calvary is where the power resides to save and deliver all men who will believe.

True worshipers, obey God by the power of the Holy Spirit when one’s faith is properly placed in Calvary, according to the Truth (as only found in the message of the Cross) of the Gospel which brings about true freedom and rest from all bondage.  Follow Him!

~Shonette

 

 

and he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he built an Altar unto the LORD, and called upon the Name of the LORD (Gen. 12:8).

Beth-el” means “House of God.” “Hai” means “garbage dump.”

The Altar alone, typifying the Cross, can keep the Believer away from the garbage dump.

It is virtually impossible for the Believer to know the difference between the “House of God” and the “garbage dump” other than by the Cross. That’s the reason we have so much false doctrine presently and so many Christians following false doctrine. For the last several decades, the Church has drifted so far from the Cross that it hardly knows any more where it has been, where it is, or where it is going. Because it no longer plants its doctrines on the foundation of the Cross, it has lost completely its moorings.

Without an understanding of the Cross, there is absolutely no discernment regarding false doctrine.

That’s the reason that Paul said:

Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times (the times in which we now live) some shall depart from the Faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Tim. 4:1).

A “departure from the Faith,” i.e., “Christ and Him Crucified,” is the reason!

Never forget:

Satan dresses up his “garbage dumps” to look like something else altogether. In other words, they look like anything but garbage dumps; and, without an understanding of the Cross, invariably that’s the way the Believer will go (Gal. 6:14).

~J. Swaggart

January 7

and the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto your seed will I give this land: and there built he an Altar unto the LORD, Who appeared unto him (Gen. 12:7).

Abraham is referred to as the Altar builder.” Why did he build so many Altars?

Whenever the Lord spoke to Abraham, and Abraham heard and yielded, which was the moment of his conversion, the Lord also made it very clear to Abraham as to the manner in which man was to approach God. It only could be through the sacrifice of a clean animal, which necessitated the shedding of blood, all which symbolized Christ. That was the only way that God could converse with man—any man. God accepts nothing from humanity except it comes by the way of the Cross.

That’s the reason that Abraham had to build a new Altar everywhere he went. There was no other way to converse with the Lord.

It has not changed even unto this moment. Man can come to God only by the way of the Cross (I Cor. 2:2).

This means if the Church is not preaching the Cross, then whatever that particular Church is doing is totally unacceptable to God. This means every person who attends such a Church, for whatever reason they are attending, is not attending for the Lord, but for something else entirely. Such a course spells disaster!

Find a Church which “builds the Altar,” i.e., “trusts in Christ and what He did at the Cross”; there life and victory will be found (I Cor. 1:17–18, 21, 23; 2:2).

~J. Swaggart